The gold-plated pewter statue called “Oscar” costs roughly $500 to make.
Being nominated for it can translate to a big payday for the movie, its stars and those associated with making the film.
Winning it can bring in much more. The Oscar is an iconic symbol of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences brand that serves to validate both the movie and talent involved in making the film.
When used in marketing campaigns, this validation stamp increases the desire of moviegoers to see the films and the talent being honored. It also keeps the movies in theatres longer boosting box office receipts. And it substantially increases DVD, streaming, download, and cable TV revenues.
It pays to win
Best Picture winners typically earn an additional $14 to $15 million in box office revenue. Last year’s winner, The King’s Speech, garnered $138 million in domestic box office – over $100 million more than was expected before it won. In Hollywood, talent agents and managers estimate that their clients will get a 20% boost in pay for their next film if they win the award for Best Actor or Actress. Since she won the Best Actress award, Natalie Portman is expected to boost her take from the high six figures she received for Black Swan to around $10 million.
Nominations pay off too
Even though winning the Oscar does wonders for movie careers and box office receipts, there is also a considerable benefit in being nominated. The King’s Speech was initially projected to gross $30 million worldwide. After receiving 12 Academy Award nominations, the revised estimate was over $200 million. After winning the Oscar for best picture last year, its worldwide box office surpassed $427 million with domestic DVD sales adding nearly another $32 million.
Nominations boost a film’s distribution too. For example, prior to being nominated, An Education was being shown in 50 theatres. After receiving a Best Picture nomination in 2010, its distribution expanded to 800 screens.
During the four years from 2007 through 2010, movies that were nominated but did not win, on average, netted an additional $20 million before the awards ceremony and $5 million afterwards.
According to Reuters, an Academy Award nomination can boost ticket sales by one-third and cause a jump in the DVD sales of movies no longer in theatres. When you add downloads, streaming and cable TV revenues, the monetary rewards from receiving a nomination can be substantial.
Turning promotion into nominations
Most important of all, award nominations can mean the difference between profits and bankruptcy for some movie productions. This is why marketers go to great lengths to promote their movies for the Oscars long before the nominations are announced in January. They spend from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars promoting their films for an Oscar nomination.
It is reported that Harvey and Bob Weinstein spent millions promoting The King’s Speech and timed the release of the film to accelerate the Oscar buzz and boost the number of nominations. While actual figures are a highly-guarded secret in Hollywood, some peg the promotional investment in the King’s Speech to rival the $15 million the Weinsteins spent on promoting Shakespeare in Love in 1999.
Marketing investment in nominations pay off
The strategy seems to have paid off since the King’s Speech’s 12 nominations last year put it ahead of the field, and helped it to win. In fact, over the past 20 years, the film with the most nominations has won 15 times. This bodes well for this year’s two top nominees. Hugo (11 nominations) and The Artist (10 nominations). However, what is working against these films is that both are about Hollywood. No film about Hollywood has ever won the Oscar for best picture. This conflict of trends makes the race even more interesting this year.
Nominated films this year really need the nominations
This year’s nominees need the boost afforded by Oscar nominations because, to date, none of them are huge hits. In fact, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and the remaining top 10-grossing films were not nominated for best picture.
Whoever wins the awards, one thing is certain – the Oscar brand is alive and well. Veteran movie marketers that know how to capitalise on the brand image of this $500 statue will enhance their own brands and make a lot more money.